PORTLAND

Suspicious piece of luggage destroyed without incident

Police say a suspicious piece of luggage found in the parking garage at Portland International Jetport has been destroyed with no injuries.

Portland police and the Transportation Security Administration were told of the bag on the ground level of the parking garage late Tuesday morning. Not knowing its contents or owner, officials moved the bag to a safe location and used a remote-controlled robot to destroy it with a high-pressure water cannon.

Police say no threat was communicated, no flights were delayed and the jetport remained open throughout the event. But vehicle and pedestrian traffic were restricted in the garage temporarily.

Police say the incident remains under investigation.

 

Red Cross needs donors of Type O negative blood

The American Red Cross in northern New England is asking volunteer blood donors for help in making up a shortage of Type O negative blood.

Spokesperson Donna Morrissey said that Type O negative blood is always in high demand because it can be transfused to patients with any blood type. She said the Red Cross’s supply has fallen to critically low levels.

The Red Cross provides blood to 83 hospitals across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

 

Awards will recognize five for local business innovation

PROPEL, the young professional arm of the Portland Regional Chamber, will hand out five awards during its second annual Entreverge party Wednesday at Port City Music Hall. The awards recognize business innovation and contribution to the local economy.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. All five winners will receive an electric guitar in lieu of a trophy.

Tickets cost $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers and can be purchased by calling 772-2811.

This year’s nominees include: 200billionbottles.com, Apothecary Design, Aucocisco Gallery, Bear Essentials Fitness, Bella Cheesecakes, Brook There, Chart Metal Works, Cottage Road Service Center, Deyesso Creative Fabrications, DSO Creative Fabrications, Eco Kids Usa, Eco-Elegance, Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, Eternal Otter Records, FetchDog.com, Flyte New Media, Good Earth Furniture, Good East Boutique, Greener Postures, Harbor Light Films, Kristie Green, Lincoln Kayak and Canoe, Local Sprouts Cafe, MADGirl World, Maples Organics, North Star Music Cafe, Mowbi LLC, Ponoma, Port City Music Hall, Portland Taps, Portland Velocipede, Pulp and Wire (formerly T.Doc Creative), Putney Inc., R.O.O.T.S. Enrichment Center, Sarah Moore Photography, Sea Bags, Seacoast RVs, Shamrock Sports, The Acadia Sessions/Acadia Recording, Tilson Technology Management and Yay for You.

 

New chief academic officer of city’s schools starts July 1

The new chief academic officer of the city’s public schools will start work July 1.

David Galin has been curriculum director of School Administrative Distrct 51 in Cumberland and North Yarmouth for six years.

In the new position, Galin will oversee curriculum and testing to ensure consistency and continuity of academic programs across Maine’s largest district.

The new position is part of Superintendent Jim Morse’s administrative reorganization, which creates some new positions and eliminates others, including assistant superintendents.

Galin, of Portland, will oversee two new curriculum coordinators, one for math and science and another for language arts and humanities.

Under Galin’s guidance, the number of students in SAD 51 who meet or exceed minimum standards in math and reading increased from 60 percent to 80 percent.

Galin’s annual salary, approved by the School Committee last week, will be $115,000.

AUGUSTA

Iberdrola chief confirms grid upgrade commitment

The chairman of Central Maine Power’s corporate parent confirmed his commitment to a $1.4 billion upgrade of the state’ power grid during a meeting Tuesday with Gov. John Baldacci.

Ignacio Galan, chairman of Spanish-utility Iberdrola, met with the governor at Blaine House.

The meeting came a week after the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved CMP improvements that include 440 miles of new and upgraded high-voltage lines as well as five new substations.

The project will double the backbone of the grid by the time it’s completed in five years, making the grid more reliable and creating capacity for future wind power projects.

 

Group to study ATV use on private land in Maine

A study will be conducted on the issue of all-terrain vehicle use on private land in Maine .

Gov. John Baldacci signed an order Tuesday to create an 11-member working group including state fish and game and public safety officials, landowners and ATV associations.

The order was issued two months after the Legislature failed to agree on a bill to tighten enforcement of all-terrain vehicles on private land.

The original proposal would have allowed game wardens to stop ATVs on private property without a reasonable suspicion that a law had been broken. Present law says officers must have probable cause to stop ATV users on private land.

Baldacci says there are concerns that the current policy will prompt landowners to restrict ATV access.

 

Michigan insurance firm fined $50,000 for violation

Maine insurance regulators say a Michigan company is being fined $50,000 for violating Maine’s unfair claims practices law.

Insurance Superintendent Mila Kofman said Monday that the civil penalty against Household Life Insurance Co. concludes a state investigation resulting from a consumer complaint filed in May 2009.

The consumer had a credit disability policy with Household, which promised to make payments on her mortgage if she became disabled. The state concluded that the claim should have been paid.

Kofman said the woman’s claim was not properly reviewed by the insurance company and she nearly lost her home as a result. She said the case underscores the importance of bringing consumer concerns to the Insurance Bureau.

 

State police thank trooper, civilians for acts of heroism

State police are thanking civilians and officers across the state for extraordinary acts of heroism.

The 2010 Maine State Police Awards Ceremony was held Monday in Augusta.

Among the people recognized were Amanda Fitz of Corinna, who spotted murder suspect Perley Goodrich Jr. last October in the truck stop where she was working, according to The Bangor Daily News.

Josh Goodine of Baileyville and David Moffatt of Auburn were recognized for saving the lives of two teenage girls who were trapped in a burning car that had crashed into a tree in May.

And Trooper Michael Johnston, who works in Orono, was named Maine’s Trooper of the Year.

BANGOR

Lobster broker sentenced for filing false tax returns

A Maine lobster broker is going to prison for a year and a day for filing false tax returns.

Frank Donnelly, 64, of Lamoine was sentenced Monday in federal court in Bangor. He was also fined $3,000 and ordered to pay more than $89,000 in back taxes.

Donnelly has said he underpaid his taxes in 2003 and 2004 because he didn’t want his tax dollars being used in support of war, according to the Bangor Daily news. About 35 local anti-war protesters stood in front of the federal building Monday in support of Donnelly.

But U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock said he didn’t believe Donnelly’s claims. Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy called Donnelly a “common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill tax cheat.”

DOVER-FOXCROFT

DHHS investigating death from overdose at hospital

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the death of a man due to a drug overdose that was accidentally administered by staff at a hospital in Dover-Foxcroft.

Timothy Harvey, 51, of Atkinson went to the Mayo Regional Hospital on June 4 suffering from an allergic reaction. Hospital officials said Harvey had eaten seafood, but had no known seafood allergy.

Emergency room employees initially treated Harvey with an appropriate amount of a drug used to treat allergic reactions, but he was later given a second dose that turned out to be 10 times greater than normal, resulting in his death, hospital officials told the Bangor Daily News.

The hospital has taken responsibility for the death.

PRESQUE ISLE

Acadian congress coming to Aroostook County in 2014

Donations are pouring in and planning is under way for the 2014 World Acadian Congress, which will be held in northern Maine and neighboring parts of New Brunswick and Quebec.

The event is being billed as the largest event to come to Aroostook County since the band Phish played at the closed Loring Air Force base a decade ago.

The congress is held every five years to celebrate Acadian culture. Acadians are descendants of French settlers in what are now the Canadian Maritime provinces.

In winning the 2014 bid, the Maine-New Brunswick-Quebec region, operating under the unified title “Acadia of the Lands and Forests,” beat out applications from Quebec City and Louisiana, according to The Bangor Daily News.

HALLOWELL

Man taking famed granite from long-dormant quarry

A Maine man is mining granite from a Hallowell quarry that has been closed for 80 years.

Lenny Nason says that for 185 years Hallowell granite had the reputation as some of the finest, lightest colored stone that could be found.

Nason bought the quarry in 1978, according to The Kennebec Journal.

After the quarry closed, it filled with water. Nason started pumping the quarry out in March.

Some of the stone from the quarry was used at the Maine State House, the Pilgrim Monument in Plymouth, Mass., the Pullman Monument in Chicago and the New York State Capitol plaza in Albany.

Nason says he already has customers for the rock he’s taking out now.

SCARBOROUGH

Town taking suggestions for new park in Pine Point

The town is seeking residents’ help in naming a new park at the end of Pine Point Road.

Submissions should be sent to the Town Clerk’s Office by July 2. They can be sent by mail to Scarborough Town Clerk’s Office, “Park Name Contest,” P.O. Box 360, Scarborough, ME 04070; e-mailed to [email protected] scarborough.me.us with “Park Name Contest” in the subject line and no attachments; faxed to 730 4033; or dropped off in person.

Entry forms are available from the town website, www.scarborough.me.us, or at the Municipal Building at 259 Route 1. There is no limit on submissions, but each one must be submitted separately.

Town councilors will announce the winner at the July 21 meeting.

CAPE ELIZABETH

Council votes unanimously against parking fees at park

The Town Council on Monday voted unanimously against imposing parking fees at Fort Williams Park.

The vote follows last week’s nonbinding advisory referendum in which residents rejected the parking fee program by a vote of 2,532 to 1,262. The program would have gone into effect next April.

In February, councilors voted 5-2 in favor of the “pay/display” program but also decided to seek voter input on the issue.

Voters had rejected a different parking fee program in 2006.

Councilors on Monday also voted 6-1 against pursuing tour bus fees in the 2011 season. The tour bus fees were not part of the advisory referendum.

Town Manager Michael McGovern advised councilors against implementing tour bus fees without the pay/display system. McGovern estimated that tour bus fees would bring in about $30,000 annually but would be offset by $22,000 in personnel and other costs. McGovern estimated that tour bus passengers, meanwhile, accounted for at least a third of the $450,000 in gross revenues at the gift shop at Portland Head Light.

The fees were considered as a way to make the town-owned park self-sustaining. The town spends about $250,000 on maintenance each year, not including capital improvement projects.

The pay/display program was expected to generate more than $400,000 a year. Day parking would have cost $5 and annual passes would have been available for $10 for town residents and $20 for nonresidents.

The town’s Fort Williams Advisory Commission on Thursday will review a list of citizen suggestions for generating revenue for the park. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Public Works facility on Cooper Drive.